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11

Feb, 2022

Pop Warner’s Super Bowl LVI Stars

Over the years, Pop Warner has been well-represented at the big game. This year is no different. In fact, the game will be star-studded with Pop Warner alums both on the field and on the sidelines. Here are just a few of the players, cheerleaders and coaches from our Pop Warner family that we’ll be keeping an eye on Sunday:

Eric Weddle
Los Angeles Rams Safety & Defensive Back  

In 2019, Eric Weddle retired after a storied 13-year career with the Chargers, Ravens and Rams that included six Pro Bowls and being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010s All-Decade Team. After hanging up the cleats, Weddle went right to work coaching his son Gaige’s 12-and-under Pop Warner team, the Rancho Bernardo (CA) Broncos, who, this season, went 11-1 and claimed the league title.

At the same time the Broncos were having a championship season, Weddle also watched one of his former teams, the LA Rams, put together a championship run. The Rams clinched their spot in the playoffs but suffered a number of injuries. That’s when Weddle received a call from former Pop Warner player and Rams defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris, asking if he’d be willing to come out of retirement to help the Rams make a Super Bowl run. Since then, Weddle has helped the Rams win each of their playoff games, most recently playing every single defensive snap – and leading the team in tackles – in their NFC Championship victory over the 49ers.

This Sunday, he will get a chance to play for his second championship of the year.

Read more about Weddle’s story here.

Raheem Morris
Los Angeles  Rams Defensive Coordinator

Raheem Morris, the Rams’ defensive coordinator, began his coaching career as a high school sophomore in Irvington, New Jersey when his grades started slipping. His parents told him he couldn’t play until he started performing better in school. Determined to get back on the field, Morris hit the books and soon began making the Honor Roll.

While he studied and worked to get his grades back up, Morris also took up coaching – which is where his love for it began. If he couldn’t be on the field playing, he wanted to at least still be a part of it from the sidelines, so he got involved helping out his former Pop Warner football team.

“When he was on the sidelines for our Pop Warner team he had his pad, tracing the plays,” Morris’ father said. “He had the coaching gene. He hasn’t changed at all.”

Morris, who also had a stint as the head coach for the Buccaneers, will be bringing his coaching expertise to Sunday’s game, hoping to put the brakes on Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Read more about Coach Morris’ journey from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl here.


Renn Arvanitis
Cincinnati Bengals Cheerleader

Renn Arvanitis says her love “for fitness, discipline and performing” began at five years old on her local Pop Warner cheerleading team in Northern Indiana, where she won several national titles.

Today, Renn coaches 200 Pop Warner dance students in that area, including the Tri Town (IN) Raiderettes, who took home a Pop Warner’s National Cheer and Dance Championship in 2019.

Carrying her deep Pop Warner roots with her, Renn has led a successful career as a Cincinnati Ben-gal. “From teamwork, to scholastics, to fitness, Pop Warner values have always been and continue to be a mainstay of my life."

"Being on the field and performing at this level is a dream come true. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to continue for a long and fulfilling career.”

Renn will continue living out her dream on Super Bowl Sunday. Read more about Renn here.



Trey Hendrickson
Cincinnati Bengal Defensive End

Trey Hendrickson has always been competitive. Before putting on the pads, he expressed his competitive nature through basketball and baseball, adding taekwondo to his repertoire around third grade before hanging up his dobak around the age of 13.

He channeled his disposition as a first-degree black belt in football where he blossomed as a defensive lineman in Pop Warner and eventually earned a scholarship to Florida Atlantic. It was there where he began to realize his potential as an NFL great.

By the time he graduated, Hendrickson had piqued the interest of all 32 NFL teams, landing with the New Orleans Saints. After four years with the Saints, he joined the Cincinnati Bengals this past season and has been an integral part of the team’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1988.

To learn more about Hendrickson, read here.


Robert Woods
Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver

Robert Woods has a way of staying in touch with his roots. A SoCal native, he plays Sundays at SoFi Stadium just a few miles down the road from his hometown. He switched from #73 to #2 when the NFL enacted the jersey number rule change - a number he wore his entire career starting from his Pop Warner days throughout college. And most inspiringly, he serves as a mentor and role model for the young players of the LAPD-backed Watts Rams Pop Warner program.

Throughout the year, Woods has donated cleats and academic supplies, visited practices and provided words of encouragement and advice. At one Watts Rams practice, Woods brought the team together to participate in one of the team's great traditions: the "We Ready" chant. Before the team broke their huddle, Woods encouraged them to play fast and dominate on the field.

This Sunday, Woods will be putting those words of inspiration to use, competing to be number one while he dons #2.

Read more about Woods’ special bond with the Pop Warner Watts Rams program here.

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Windermere, Florida 34786

Email: [email protected]

MID FLORIDA POP WARNER

Mid Florida Pop Warner, P.O. Box 555
Windermere, Florida 34786

Email: [email protected]
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